eHAT Research Group worked from 2003 to 2006 at University of Tampere at Seinäjoki, Finland

Research Group

In the eHAT (e-Business; Human Aspect to Technology) group e-commerce is studied from the consumers’ point of view, which means that we study how new e-services are incorporated into consumers’ daily practices. This research objective is at the crossroads of information systems and consumers studies. The group is located in Seinäjoki, Finland.

The group includes researchers from three disciplines. Most of the researchers come from information systems (University of Tampere): Research Professor Tarja Tiainen, Minna-Kristiina Paakki, Tero Saarenpää, Taina Kaapu, Tarja Katajamäki and Jukka Rannila. Kyösti Pennanen (University of Vaasa) is a researcher from consumer studies and Emma-Reetta Koivunen (University of Helsinki) from social and cultural anthropology. Deirdre Hynes (Manchester Metropolitan University) has improved the knowledge about domestication when she joined to the research group.

Multidisciplinary Approach

The three disciplines involved view the objective of people and their practices in e-commerce in different ways. The discipline of information systems is focused on the organizational use of ICT and information systems, in this human beings are of marginal interest and limitedly understood. However, very human related issues, such as trust in e-commerce, are discussed to some extent in the IS journals. We searched for a better understanding of the human being in consumer studies, as it is close to the IS field, by focusing on human beings in relation to the organization (as consuming some products).

Consumer studies give a better (or different) understanding of human beings than studying the e-commerce user, focusing on their experience, motivation factors, behaviour and attitudes. In social and cultural anthropology the main focus is on the human being. Social anthropology is concerned with knowledge about human in societies and the main focus in anthropology is the diversity of social life. Technology is one part of human life and technology (also the Internet) has been studied by anthropologists.

The human being is seen in a different context in the three disciplines: in IS the human being is seen in relation to ICT; in consumer studies the human being is a consumer and buyer of products; in social anthropology the human being is a member of a social group, which affects the ways people make sense of the world. Having three perspectives on the human being – i.e. the informants in the field – the members of the eHAT group had to question their own views which might have been limited and biased. Multidisciplinary cooperation gives an answer to the problem which comes from researchers’ own taken-for-granted views.


Last update 3.4.2009 by Tarja Tiainen